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Much Abrew: Legacy Madness


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. A couple of weeks ago, we played some Legacy with a Chain of Smog Nic Fit deck for Much Abrew, and it was a lot of fun. So this week, we're going to return to the format to play one of the weirder decks in Legacy: Legacy Madness. The main goal of the deck? Discard our hand, maybe as early as Turn 1 with the help of Lion's Eye Diamond, so that we can cheat things like Basking Rootwalla, Anje's Ravager, and Asylum Visitor into play on the cheap, while maybe triggering Vengevine or playing some free Hollow Ones along the way. Is madness really a mechanic that can compete in Legacy? What crazy, fast starts can the deck get off to? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Legacy Madness

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Discussion

  • All in all, we finished our league 2-3 with the deck, which was slightly disappointing, and doubly so considering how close we were to doing some crazy things in the games that we lost. 
  • Legacy Madness is really strange. On paper, it looks like it should be pretty resilient to Force of Will since we have things that come back from the graveyard and cheap flashback spells like Faithless Looting to enable our self-discard plan. But in practice, we get absolutely wrecked by the free counterspell. In fact, every single one of our losses was the result of our opponent aggressively Force of Willing a discard outlet like Faithless Looting, Putrid Imp, or Careful Study, leaving us stranded with expensive madness cards and graveyard-based threats in hand that we really, really wanted to discard. 
  • The good news is that the deck can get off to some hilariously fast starts thanks to the combo of Vengevine, Hollow One, and Basking Rootwalla. Our best draws generally involve discarding a Vengevine (or if we're really lucky, two) on Turn 1 along with some combination of two Basking Rootwallas or Hollow Ones, which we can play for free to get back the Vengevines and build a massive and hopefully unbeatable board early in the game. 
  • Anje's Ravager might look weird, but it's actually one of the best cards in the entire deck, if we can get it to stick on the battlefield. Its attack trigger gives us a way to find more action after we discard our hand, and since so many of our cards either have madness or want to be the graveyard, discarding our hand is often an upside rather than a drawback. While it does die to a lot of the popular removal in the format, we usually pull pretty far ahead if we can get even just one or two attack triggers out of it. 
  • Lion's Eye Diamond is the riskiest card in the deck because it forces us to discard our hand. It allows for some absurd Turn 1s where we discard multiple Vengevines and madness a couple of creatures to get them back. But it also comes with a lot of risk, in that we're left empty-handed, so we're pretty much done for if our opponent can deal with our board. 
  • Putrid Imp is a sneaky all-star, allowing us to discard cards for free whenever we want to, which sort of makes it like a Lion's Eye Diamond without the risk of getting blown out. Having a Putrid Imp on the battlefield also means we can cast all of our madness cards at instant speed by discarding them during our opponent's turn, potentially allowing us to use Anje's Ravager as a surprise blocker or, at worse, flashing it into play on our opponent's end step to play around sorcery-speed removal. 
  • As I mentioned before, Force of Will was a surprising weakness for the deck, with literally all of our losses involving our opponent hitting a key discard spell with the free counterspell. The other weakness we found was big creatures. If we get off to our best starts, cards like Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath or Tarmogoyf are too slow to really matter, but with a more average draw, a big threat or two from our opponent can stonewall our offense, and we don't really have a way to answer a creature with more than three toughness in our main deck. 
  • All in all, Legacy Madness was fun, but it was also frustrating. In many of our losses, we had hands that should have allowed us to do absurd things, but a timely counterspell on our Faithless Looting, Careful Study, or Putrid Imp ruined our deck and left us with a bunch of over-costed, often uncastable madness cards in hand. Heading into our league, my plan was to mulligan aggressively for strong starts (which I still think is probably the best way to play the deck), although this sometimes backfired by leaving us with only one discard outlet in hand, making it so a single Force of Will would run our deck. It's also possible that I didn't play the deck perfectly (Legacy is hard, and the deck is super tricky), although I can't think of anything super obvious that I was doing wrong. (If you noticed something, make sure to let me know in the comments.)
  • Overall, I feel like Legacy Madness is a really sweet archetype. Who doesn't love a free Basking Rootwalla or discarding cards to Putrid Imp for value? But the plan felt super risky. When things do go well, they go really, really well, but when things go wrong, they go really, really wrong. With some good running, right play, good matchups, and luck, I can see how the deck could cruise to a 5-0 in a Legacy league, but it's also just as possible to hit bad matchups, run poorly, punt a bit too much, and end up doing a whole lot of nothing.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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